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Taj Mahal, Great Wall among 7 'new' wonders

Machu Picchu in Peru, Jordan's Petra also named

LISBON -- The Great Wall of China, Rome's Colosseum, and India's Taj Mahal were among seven architectural marvels named the new wonders of the world yesterday.

The other four winners, chosen by a global poll, were Peru's Machu Picchu, Brazil's Statue of Christ Redeemer, Jordan's Petra, and Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid.

About 100 million votes were cast via the Internet and cellphone text messages, said New7Wonders, the nonprofit organization that conducted the poll.

The seven beat out 14 other nominated landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Easter Island, the Statue of Liberty, the Acropolis, Russia's Kremlin, and Australia Sydney Opera House.

The Great Pyramids of Giza, the only surviving structures from the original seven wonders of the ancient world, were assured of retaining their status in addition to the new seven after Egyptian officials said it was a disgrace they had to compete.

Also in the less-voted group are Cambodia's Angkor, Spain's Alhambra, Turkey's Hagia Sophia, Japan's Kiyomizu Temple, Russia's Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral, Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle, Britain's Stonehenge, and Mali's Timbuktu.

The campaign was launched in 1999 by the Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber. Almost 200 nominations came in, and the list was narrowed to the 21 most-voted by the start of 2006. Organizers admit there was no foolproof way to prevent people from voting more than once for their favorite.

Weber's Switzerland-based foundation aims to promote cultural diversity by supporting, preserving, and restoring monuments. It relies on private donations and revenue from selling broadcasting rights.

The organizers said the contest was a chance to level the global playing field and recognize the cultural achievements of societies outside Europe and the Middle East.

The traditional seven wonders of the world all existed more than 2,000 years ago and were all in the Mediterranean region.

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